OASFAA 2008 Conference FERPA

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OASFAA 2008 Conference FERPA

  1. 1. © Copyright 2008, United Student Aid Funds, Inc. All Rights Reserved. OASFAA Spring 2008 Conference FERPA
  2. 2. 1 The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Background • Signed into law August 21, 1974. • Became effective November 19, 1974. • Commonly called the “Buckley Amendment.” • 34 CFR Part 99.
  3. 3. 2 The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Background • Family Policy Compliance Office. – (202) 260-3887 – www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html FERPA applies to “an educational agency or institution to which funds have been made available under any program administered by the Secretary (of education)” (34 CFR 99.1).
  4. 4. 3 Rights of Parents and Eligible Students • Rights transfer to students: – At age 18. – “Eligible students.” • Currently or formerly enrolled. • Not: – Deceased students. – Prospective students.
  5. 5. 3 Rights of Parents and Eligible Students Parent: A natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian.
  6. 6. 3 Rights of Parents and Eligible Students • Two parties have access to student’s education record. – The student. – Parents of dependent student. • Defined in IRS Code, Section 152. • School’s release of parents’ financial information to student is not required. • Parent/student FAFSA completion. – Potential conflict.
  7. 7. 4 Written Consent Not Needed • Legitimate educational interests. • Other schools to which a student is transferring. • Audit/evaluation purposes. • Appropriate parties with students’ financial aid. • Organizations conducting studies for schools. • Accrediting organizations. • A judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. • Health and safety emergencies. • State and local authorities in juvenile-justice system. • Under age 21 and violated alcohol and drug laws or policies. • Alleged victim of a crime.
  8. 8. 5 Written Consent Standards • Written: – Specify the records to be disclosed. – State the purpose of the disclosure. – Identify the party or class of parties to whom the information will be disclosed. – Be signed and dated. • Electronic: – Identifies and authenticates a particular person as the source of the electronic consent. – Identifies that person’s approval of the information contained in the electronic consent.
  9. 9. 6 Directory Information • Student’s name. • Address. • Telephone listing. • E-mail address. • Photograph. • Date and place of birth. • Major field of study. • Dates of attendance. • Grade level. • Enrollment status. • Participation in officially- recognized activities and sports. • Athlete weight and height. • Degrees, honors and awards. • Most recent institution attended. Directory information refers to information contained in students’ education records, not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy, if disclosed.
  10. 10. 7 Annual Notification • Annual notification to students required. – Must be made by means likely to inform students. • College catalogue. • College handbook. • School Web site. • Student may request that information not be released. – Request must be in writing.
  11. 11. 7 Education Record • Records, files, documents or other materials containing student-related information. • Maintained by educational agency or institution. – Includes records accessible to another individual. – Handwritten, print, electronic, CD-ROM or other media. – FERPA does not mandate time frame for retaining. • Time frame varies based on the type of record. • Federal, state and/or institutional policies specify archiving needs.
  12. 12. 8 Education Record Exceptions • Sole-possession records or private notes. • Law enforcement or campus-security records. • Personnel records. – Unless for student employees. • Professional-treatment records. • Information obtained on a former student. – Alumni records.
  13. 13. 8 Education Records Requirements • School must maintain: – List of all education records. – Location of records. – Procedures by which student can review records.
  14. 14. 8-9 Record of Disclosures • Disclosure must include: – Names of parties who requested or received the information. – Parties who requested or received information and any legitimate interest. • Exceptions: – Eligible student or parent. – School official with legitimate educational interest. – Seeking directory information. – A subpoena with orders that the subpoena not be disclosed. – U.S. Attorney General investigating or prosecuting terrorism crimes.
  15. 15. 9-10 Access to Student Records Subpoenas • A command from a court requiring a person’s appearance to provide testimony or evidence. • Student notification required. – Send via certified mail with return receipt. – Exceptions: • Subpoena specifies not to notify student. • Submitting records. – Certified copies sent to issuer or agency collecting documents. – May charge fees for copying and mailing. • Consult with legal counsel before responding.
  16. 16. 10-11 Access to Student Records Student Employees’ Use of Records Office is responsible for the privacy and confidentiality of student records that student employees use. • Recommended use of code of responsibility. – New-employee training tool. – Violations and sanctions explained.
  17. 17. 11-12 Access to Student Records Parental Access to Records • Parents have no inherent rights to inspect eligible student’s records. • Rights can be modified. – Written consent of student. – In compliance with subpoena. – In connection with health or safety issue. – Parent(s) claim student on taxes.
  18. 18. 13 FERPA Violation Penalties • Family Policy Compliance Office. – If FPCO finds a violation, school is notified to correct its actions. – If school still fails to comply with FERPA, Secretary can direct no further federal funding.
  19. 19. 13 FERPA Violation Penalties Gonzaga v. John Doe (June 20, 2002) • Students cannot sue schools that release grades and other personal information improperly. – 7-2 Vote. • Found that FERPA gives “no specific, individually enforceable rights.” • Leaves enforcement to ED.
  20. 20. 14-15 Ensuring Compliance • Compliance, customer service and conflict require the financial-aid office to act responsibly. – Develop and share a student-record privacy and confidentiality statement for your office. – Provide staff training and require a signed statement or code of responsibility from all employees. – Attend FERPA conferences/training sessions. – NASFAA Self-Evaluation Guide on FERPA. – AACRAO’s FERPA Guide.
  21. 21. 16-19 Federal Legislative Amendments • The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crime Statistics Act. • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. • The Campus Sex Crime Prevention Act. • The USA Patriot Act. • The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.
  22. 22. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Federal Register March 24, 2008 • Proposed changes to FERPA include: – Implementing provisions of amendments: • USA Patriot Act. • Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act. – Implementing Supreme Court decisions: • Owasso Independent School District vs Falvo. • Gonzaga University vs Doe. – Clarifying and updating provisions based on ED’s experience administering FERPA. – Clarifying issues resulting from tragic events at Virginia Tech.
  23. 23. 20-25 Federal Update Case Studies
  24. 24. © Copyright 2008, United Student Aid Funds, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Questions?

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